Members of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria have told President Muhammadu Buhari and Kaduna State governor, Nasir El-Rufai, to watch their backs as the day of reckoning was nearer than they ever thought. 

The group, popularly referred to as Shiites, posits that Buhari and El-Rufai were unjustly using power and state resources to unlawfully keep their leader, Sheikh Ibrahim El-Zakzaky, and his wife, Zeenat, in detention despite court orders directing their release on bail.

According to the IMN, the Kaduna State governor rather than apologise to El-Zakzaky for the massacre of his followers including his children during a military clampdown on his home in Zaria in 2015, he has been doing everything to frustrate the course of justice by preventing the sheikh’s release from detention.

In a statement by President, Media Forum, of the IMN, Ibrahim Musa, the group called on the international community to intervene in the matter so as to ensure justice is served. 

The statement reads, “With increasing pressure on the President Muhammadu Buhari regime from home and abroad occasioned by the decision of the International Criminal Court at The Hague to investigate the crimes against humanity committed by this regime during the Zaria Massacre of 2015, there have been increased efforts at belittling the matter and trivialising the issues. 

“This reached a peak in the last hours when the Kaduna State governor, Nasiru El-Rufai, was rattling half-truths and pathological lies for which he has come to be known. 

“In this his warped position, he insinuated that so long as he remains Kaduna governor, Sheikh Zakzaky would remain in detention. According to this depraved governor, Sheikh Zakzaky is being tried for crimes he and his followers committed in the last 30 years in Zaria.

“On the contrary, after the criminal invasion of the sheikh’s residence in December of 2015 and the subsequent killing of hundreds of his supporters including his sons and relatives by officers and men of the Nigerian Army, the sheikh and his wife were shot at and arrested. 

“The sheikh and his supporters were the victims of state terror and crimes and not the perpetrators. The Department of State Services illegally detained them without charges until May 2018 when the pressure on the government to release them became so intense and unbearable. It was at that point that the government thought of charging them of inciting his followers to commit alleged offences. 

“Prior to that, the government had struggled to give any sensible explanation for their continued detention. 

“Meanwhile before all these, on December 2, 2016, the Federal High Court presided over by the Honourable Justice G. O. Kolawole (now of the Court of Appeal) declared illegal and unconstitutional their arrest and detention. 

“The Judicial Commission of Inquiry had indicted Nigerian Army for the extrajudicial murder of 347 of their supporters during the raid on their residence and burying them secretly in mass grave and ordered that the officers and men involved be tried. The government has since demonstrated a stubborn unwillingness to prosecute those indicted. 

“Governor El-Rufai’s fraudulent claims that only court can free Sheikh Zakzaky pales in the face of the obvious. 

“Firstly, the fabricated charges of inciting, aiding and abetting brought against him (as a ploy to perpetually keep him in detention) have been squashed in the high and appeal courts. 

“Secondly, the Federal High Court had declared his detention as unconstitutional and therefore ordered his release. The government has remained in contempt of that order. 

“Thirdly, even when the Kaduna High Court granted the sheikh medical leave, El-Rufai took measures to thwart the medical bail, putting stringent terms and conditions independent of the courts. Clearly, El-Rufai, like the master he is working for, General Buhari, has no respect for the rule of law. 

“Finally, we would like to let El-Rufai and his master known that the day of reckoning is very near indeed. 

“Justice will be served and no amount of blackmail and misuse of state power could avert this whirlwind of justice from catching up with them all.”

 

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